American technology conglomerate Apple is reportedly taking steps to replace microchip provider Intel by integrating a powerful version of their chip technology used in the iPhone and iPad for their Mac computers and other products.
According to a report by CNET correspondent Charles Cooper, Apple is trying to come up with a ‘homegrown’ chip design technology for their desktops, laptops, and other computers in an attempt to part ways with semiconductor giant Intel.
In 2005, former Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced that Apple would be making a transition from PowerPC architecture to the Intel x86 architecture because the future PowerPC road map was unable to satisfy the company needs for their laptops and computers.
In just a matter of months, all its Mac computers are running on Intel processors while their Apple Xserve server was then updated to Intel Xeon processors in 2006.
However, an unnamed insider disclosed that Apple is having that ‘seven-year itch’ to achieve independence as far as employing their own microchip technology.
Apple shelled out millions of dollars to develop a chip design based on the non-Intel, ARM architecture to power their mobile gadgets such as the iPhone and iPad.
The development of their A6 chip for their iPhone needed Apple to spend $400 million to acquire chip companies such as PA Semi and Intrinsity and additional cost to license the ARM chip technology.
The source said Apple is planning to develop a powerful version of the chip to run all their Mac computers and gadgets.
Despite the hype that surrounds Apple’s next big plan, the source cleared that nothing is yet final. On the other hand, Intel said it won’t make a comment based on speculations but assured to release a statement after gathering enough information.
The Linley Group chip analyst Linley Gwennap expects Apple to develop new CPU designs every two years, similar to the product release cadence of Intel and AMD.
While ARM-based processors dominate the tablet market today, Microsoft’s Windows 8 provides x86-based CPUs a fresh shot at the market. Intel was the first one to adapt to the growing market but Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) shows no sign of backing down in the competition it is well-acquainted with. Consequently, the company recently announced its latest innovation in the form Z-60 APU (Accelerated Processing Unit), codenamed “Hondo.”
AMD Z-60 Hondo is a dual-core processor clocked at 1.0GHz with integrated Radeon HD 6250 GPU specifically designed and built for tablets and hybrids that run Windows 8 operating system. It is expected to be circulated globally this year in conjunction with the availability of Microsoft’s latest OS.
Basically, Z-60 comes with a minor upgrade from Z-01. It is more focused on providing high-quality display, interactivity and compatibility needed to support any x86-based tablet PCs. Moreover, Z-60 is AMD’s lowest power APU; meaning, it can do what is expected of it but plays a big role in economizing power consumption.
“Tablet users seeking an uncompromised experience for both creating and consuming content on the Microsoft Windows 8 platform now have a performance-driven, affordable option with the AMD Z-60 APU,” said Steve Belt, corporate vice president of Ultra-Low Power Products, AMD.
Manufacturers who might want to put this new APU into their products could enjoy the luxury of building thin tablets as Z-60 is considerably thinner than its counterparts. But for now, there are no manufacturers that shared their interests in using the chipset.
The radical shift in computer technology will be the reason why companies like AMD will try to run after the tablet market. Being one of the most successful chipset companies, AMD’s future looks brighter in the newer market it is trying to go after. When Windows 8 makes its global debut, we might start seeing devices running on AMD Z-60.
Both Apple and Qualcomm has reportedly tried to secure some exclusive access to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. smartphone ships by making a few investment offers into the custom chip maker that goes to the excess of $1 billion (Uh oh, is Apple trying to break off its deal with Samsung for their chips?). The cash would have assured the investors that production would have been reserved for their products, but both bids from Apple and Qualcomm were rejected, people that were familiar with this told Bloomberg. Apple and Qualcomm were apparently trying to secure manufacturing resources to somehow satisfy the increasing demand for smartphones a market Bloomberg Industries estimates to be worth almost $219 billion. I’m kind of curious as to know what “demand” their is for iPhone’s after there have been many reports that people have chosen Android over the iPhone. If anything, there is high demand for the Galaxy S III or Galaxy Nexus. Then again, I’m not expert analyst, so I’ll leave that work to them.
SMC, which happens to supply various chips to Qualcomm, Broadcom, Nvidia and various other companies, is willing to devote a entire factory or two to a single customer but is wanting to remain flexible enough so that they can switch production among customers and products, Bloomberg has said. However, SMC says that it is not in need of any sort of investment capital and is very unwilling to sell part of itself (and rightly so. If they aren’t in need of investment capital, why sell yourself?).
This arrangement would help Apple reduce the dependence it has on its foe, Samsung for mobile device components drastically. Despite some rumors that came out early last year that said Apple was courting Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. to produce the A6 processor that was expected to power the next generation of both iPad’s and iPhones, some manufacturing issues have kept the chip production contract with Apple. This new switch almost makes me wonder if Apple had been preparing this lawsuit with Samsung since early last year if they were wanting to switch manufacturing companies. Honestly, it’d be no surprise if they were, but it’s interesting how long they might have been preparing the lawsuit against Samsung. I could be completely wrong, but it does seem to lineup with this contract Apple wants to secure with TSMC. I”m actually kind of curious as to how this move will be affecting Samsung after losing $1.5 billion, then $12 billion in shares and a ton of revenue coming from those chips they sell Apple. Things aren’t looking very good on Samsung’s end of things.
We’ll make sure to keep you updated for when Apple officially decides to switch with TSMC. There’s no doubt it’ll happen, the fact that they are willing to dedicate two factories to a single customer has to appeal to Apple a lot. It’ll definitely meet their needs if the iPhone 5 decides to go big. If it doesn’t well, that may just be a waste of money unless their iPad mini also goes big.